Born in the U.S.A.
|Born in the U.S.A.|
|Studio album by Bruce Springsteen|
|Released||June 4, 1984|
|Recorded||January 1982 – March 1984|
|Studio||The Power Station and The Hit Factory in New York City|
|Genre||Rock and roll, heartland rock, pop|
|Producer||Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt|
|Bruce Springsteen chronology|
|Singles from Born in the U.S.A.|
Born in the U.S.A. is the seventh studio album by American rock singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was released on June 4, 1984, by Columbia Records. It was written by Springsteen and recorded with his E Street Band and producers Chuck Plotkin and Jon Landau at The Power Station and The Hit Factory in New York City.
When Born in the U.S.A. was first released, it was met with positive reviews and massive commercial success. It produced seven top-10 hit singles and was promoted with a worldwide concert tour by Springsteen. Born in the U.S.A. became his most commercially successful album and one of the highest-selling records ever, having sold 30 million copies by 2012. It has also been cited by critics as one of the greatest albums of all time.
Born in the U.S.A. showed Springsteen embracing a livelier mainstream sound than on his previous records but continued to express progressive themes and values in his lyrics. According to Roger Scott, it was a "defiantly rock 'n' roll" album, while Rolling Stone's Debby Bull said Springsteen incorporated "electronic textures" with music he "kept as its heart all of the American rock & roll from the early Sixties". Although Springsteen's previous record Nebraska had darker songs, he said Born in the U.S.A was not entirely different: "If you look at the material, particularly on the first side, it's actually written very much like Nebraska – the characters and the stories, the style of writing – except it's just in the rock-band setting." Springsteen considered leaving "No Surrender" off of the album, explaining that "you don't hold out and triumph all the time in life. ... You compromise, you suffer defeat; you slip into life's gray areas." E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt convinced Springsteen otherwise: "He argued that the portrait of friendship and the song's expression of the inspirational power of rock music was an important part of the picture."
The title track of the album inspired the Annie Leibovitz photo of Springsteen's backside against the backdrop of an American flag, which was used as the album cover. Springsteen commented on the origin of the concept: "We had the flag on the cover because the first song was called "Born in the U.S.A.", and the theme of the record kind of follows from the themes I've been writing about for at least the last six or seven years. But the flag is a powerful image, and when you set that stuff loose, you don't know what's gonna be done with it." Some people thought that the cover depicted Springsteen urinating on the flag. He denied it: "That was unintentional. We took a lot of different types of pictures, and in the end, the picture of my ass looked better than the picture of my face, that's what went on the cover. I didn't have any secret message. I don't do that very much." According to political writer Peter Dreier, the music's "pop-oriented" sound and the marketing of Springsteen as "a heavily muscled rocker with an album cover featuring a giant US flag, may have overshadowed the album's radical politics."
Release and promotion
Born in the U.S.A. became the first compact disc manufactured in the United States for commercial release when CBS and Sony opened its CD manufacturing plant in Terre Haute, Indiana in September 1984. Columbia Records' CDs previously had been imported from Japan. Although Springsteen had been a well-known star for almost 10 years before the album was released, Larry Rodgers from the Arizona Republic wrote "it was not until he hit the gym to get buffed up and showed off his rear end in Annie Leibovitz's famous cover photo for Born in the U.S.A. that he became an American pop icon". touching off a wave of "Bossmania", as author Chris Smith called it. According to Bryan K. Garman, in his book A Race of Singers – Whitman's Working-Class Hero From Guthrie to Springsteen, this new image helped Springsteen popularize his persona on a new scale, but also brought him a decisive attachment to political and sociocultural issues, in the times when Ronald Reagan was reviving a patriotic pride by reaffirming the values of prosperity, expansion, and world domination of the United States "within a decidedly masculine framework."
Born in the U.S.A. was the best-selling album of 1984 and proved to the best-selling record of Springsteen's career. It was promoted with a worldwide concert tour and seven singles that became top-10 hits: "Dancing in the Dark", "Cover Me", "Born in the U.S.A.", I'm on Fire", "Glory Days", "I'm Goin' Down", and "My Hometown". It became one of the best-selling albums of all time, and by 2012, it had sold 30 million copies. As the album became a massive commercial success, Springsteen expressed his thoughts on his growing fame in a 1984 interview: "Yeah, there's a change [in me]. [Being a rich man] doesn't make living easier, but it does make certain aspects of your life easier. You don't have to worry about rent, you can buy things for your folks and help out your friends, and you can have a good time, you know? There were moments where it was very confusing. (...) I don't really think [money] does change you. It's an inanimate thing, a tool, a convenience. If you've got to have a problem, it's a good problem to have. (...) Money was kind of part of the dream when I started. I don't think...I never felt like I ever played a note for the money. I think if I did, people would know, and they'd throw you out of the joint. And you'd deserve to go. But at the same time, it was a part of the dream.":3
|Christgau's Record Guide||A+|
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Born in the U.S.A. received positive reviews from critics. In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, Dave Marsh called it Springsteen's most accessible listen since Born to Run (1975) and said that he knew how to incorporate "technopop elements without succumbing to the genre's banalities". The magazine's Debby Miller wrote that Springsteen has set songs that were as well thought-out as Nebraska to more sophisticated production and spirited music, and that the four story-driven songs that end each side of the album give it an "extraordinary depth" because of his world-beating lyrics. Robert Hilburn from the Los Angeles Times felt that, with the album's "richer" musical settings, Springsteen had succeeded in articulating his message to a wider audience. John Swenson of Saturday Review credited him for showing a more disciplined writing style than on his previous albums and for "championing traditional rock values at a time when few newer bands show interest in such a direction". Writing in The Village Voice, Robert Christgau said Springsteen improved upon his previous work by eschewing dejected themes of nostalgia and losers in favor of tougher lyrics, a sense of humor, and an upbeat worldview more honest than the one-dimensional politics of Nebraska. He added that the record's vibrant music "reminds me like nothing in years that what teenagers loved about rock and roll wasn't that it was catchy or even rhythmic but that it just plain sounded good". Born in the U.S.A. was voted the best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1984. Christgau, the poll's creator, also ranked it number one on his list, in 1990 he named it the ninth-best album of the 1980s.
In a retrospective review, Christgau wrote that, although Born in the U.S.A. may have seemed more conservative than Springsteen's previous work, it showed him evolving on what was his "most rhythmically propulsive, vocally incisive, lyrically balanced, and commercially undeniable album". Greg Kot, writing in the Chicago Tribune, later called it "an 11-million-selling record with a conscience". AllMusic's William Ruhlmann interpreted the album as an apotheosis for Springsteen's reoccurring characters from his past albums and said that Born in the U.S.A. "marked the first time that Springsteen's characters really seemed to relish the fight and to have something to fight for". Richard Williams was more critical in a retrospective review for Q magazine, writing that Springsteen had exaggerated his usual characters and themes in a deliberate attempt at commercial success. Williams added: "The decision by someone who grew up in the '60s to exploit the American flag on the cover and to bury the anti-war message of Born In The USA beneath an impenetrable layer of clenched-fist bombast ... was, in the era of Reagan and welfare cuts, downright irresponsible."
In 1987, Born in the U.S.A. was voted the fifth greatest album rock album of all time in Paul Gambaccini's poll of 81 critics, writers, and radio broadcasters. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Born in the U.S.A. number 85 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and in 2013, it was named the 428th greatest album in a similar list published by NME.
With Born in the U.S.A., Springsteen helped popularize American heartland rock in the mainstream, which allowed for greater success for recording artists such as John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, and Bob Seger. After Mellencamp released his 1985 album Scarecrow, critics mentioned him alongside Springsteen and also referred to his music as heartland rock.
Springsteen has expressed some mixed feelings about the album, believing that Nebraska contains some of his strongest writing, while Born in the U.S.A. did not necessarily follow suit. The title track "more or less stood by itself", he declared. "The rest of the album contains a group of songs about which I've always had some ambivalence." Even so, and despite expressing the "grab-bag nature" of the album, he acknowledged its powerful effect on his career, claiming: "Born in the U.S.A. changed my life and gave me my largest audience. It forced me to question the way I presented my music and made me think harder about what I was doing."
Springsteen's manager, Jon Landau, said that there were no plans for the band to celebrate the album's anniversary with a deluxe reissue box set in the manner of previous Springsteen albums. "At least not yet," he added. A full album live performance DVD titled Born in the U.S.A. Live: London 2013 was released exclusively through Amazon.com on January 14, 2014 along with a purchase of Springsteen's album, High Hopes.
All songs written by Bruce Springsteen.
|1.||"Born in the U.S.A."||4:40|
|4.||"Working on the Highway"||3:13|
|6.||"I'm on Fire"||2:40|
|9.||"I'm Goin' Down"||3:29|
|11.||"Dancing in the Dark"||4:04|
- Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, lead guitar, acoustic guitar
- Roy Bittan – piano, synthesizer, background vocals
- Clarence Clemons – saxophone, percussion, background vocals
- Danny Federici – organ, glockenspiel, piano on "Born in the U.S.A."
- Garry Tallent – bass guitar, background vocals
- Steven Van Zandt – acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmony vocals
- Max Weinberg – drums, background vocals
- Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg – background vocals on "Cover Me" and "No Surrender"
- Ruth Davis – background vocals on "My Hometown"
- Bob Clearmountain – mixing
- John Davenport – assistant engineer
- Jeff Hendrickson – assistant engineer
- Andrea Klein – art direction, design, cover design
- Bruce Lampcov – assistant engineer
- Annie Leibovitz – photography
- Bob Ludwig – mastering
- Bill Scheniman – engineer
- Toby Scott – engineer
- Billy Straus – assistant engineer
- Zoe Yanakis – assistant engineer
|Australia (ARIA)||13× Platinum||910,000^|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Diamond||1,000,000^|
|Finland (Musiikkituottajat)||2× Platinum||108,913|
|Germany (BVMI)||2× Platinum||1,000,000^|
|Japan (Oricon Charts)||212,700|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||16× Platinum||240,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||3× Platinum||1,120,000|
|United States (RIAA)||15× Platinum||15,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- List of best-selling albums
- List of best-selling albums in Australia
- List of best-selling albums in Italy
- List of best-selling albums in New Zealand
- List of best-selling albums in the United States
- Dreier, Peter (2012). The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame. Nation Books. p. 436. ISBN 1568586817.
- Scott, Rogert; Humphries, Patrick (2013). "Roger Scott and Patrick Humphries, Hot Press—November 2, 1984". In Phillips, Christopher; Masur, Louis P. Talk About a Dream: The Essential Interviews of Bruce Springsteen. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 131. ISBN 1620400723.
Born in the U.S.A. was such a defiantly rock 'n' roll album, the reviews were surprisingly favourable.
- Perone, James E. (2012). The Album: A Guide to Pop Music's Most Provacative, Influential, and Important Creations. ABC-CLIO. p. 239. ISBN 0313379068.
- Kurt Loder (December 6, 1984). "The Rolling Stone Interview: Bruce Springsteen". Retrieved December 30, 2009.
- Rodgers, Larry (June 4, 2009). "Bruce Springsteen, Born in the USA, 25 Years Old Today". The Arizona Republic.
- Horowitz, Is. "First Domestic CD Plant Opens" Billboard October 6, 1984: 6
- Wiersema, Robert J. (2011). Walk Like a Man: Coming of Age with the Music of Bruce Springsteen. Greystone. pp. 21–. ISBN 9781553658467. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
- Garman, Bryan K. (August 9, 1985). A race of singers: Whitman's working ... – Google Libros. Books.google.com.ar. ISBN 978-0-8078-4866-1. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- Burger, Jeff (2013). Springsteen on Springsteen: Interviews, Speeches, and Encounters. Chicago Review Press. p. 131. ISBN 1613744374. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
- Forde, Ian (July 13, 2013). "Bruce Springsteen still shows who's boss". Irish Examiner. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
- Ruhlmann, William. "Born in the U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen". AllMusic. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Kot, Greg (August 23, 1992). "The Recorded History of Springsteen". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Christgau, Robert (1990). Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. p. 382. ISBN 067973015X.
- Atkinson, Terry; et al. (December 16, 1984). "Guiding the Unitiated Through the Top 40". Los Angeles Times. p. T68. Retrieved July 8, 2013. (subscription required)
- Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 1076. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
- Williams, Richard (December 1989). "All or Nothing: The Springsteen back catalogue". Q. p. 149.
- Marsh, Dave (July 1984). "Record Rack". Rolling Stone (New York): 23.
- Sheffield, Rob; et al. (2004). Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. The Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). pp. 771–2. ISBN 0743201698.
- Swenson, John (November–December 1984). "Championing Traditional Rock Values". Saturday Review 10 (1–2): 70.
- Med57 (January 19, 2005). "Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA (album review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Miller, Debby (July 19, 1984). "Born in the U.S.A". Rolling Stone (New York). Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Hilburn, Robert (July 1, 1984). "Pop Music Top Midyear LPs: Prince, Springsteen". Los Angeles Times. Calendar section, p. T62. Retrieved July 8, 2013. (subscription required)
- Christgau, Robert (February 18, 1985). "Pazz & Jop 1984: The Rise of the Corporate Single". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Christgau, Robert (June 26, 1984). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Christgau, Robert (February 18, 1985). "Pazz & Jop 1984: Dean's List". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Christgau, Robert (1990). "Decade Personal Best: '80s". The Village Voice (January 2) (New York). Retrieved May 10, 2015.
- Williams, Richard (December 1989). "All or Nothing: The Springsteen back catalogue". Q. p. 150.
- Taylor, Jonathan (March 25, 1987). "Pop Critics Pick Rock's Top 100". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
- "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone (New York): 116. December 11, 2003.
- Kaye, Ben (October 25, 2013). "The Top 500 Albums of All Time, according to NME". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
- Redmond, Mike (January 23, 1992). "Mellencamp is real force in American music". Indianapolis Star. Free Time section, p. F.4. Retrieved July 8, 2013. (subscription required)
- Andy Greene (2013-12-17). "Bruce Springsteen on New Album 'High Hopes': Exclusive Interview | Music News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
- "Springsteen Offers Live Born In The U.S.A. DVD With High Hopes Pre-Order". American Songwriter. 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "austriancharts.at Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A." (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved October 31, 2011.
- Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2012-04-04
- "dutchcharts.nl Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A." (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved April 4, 2012.Note: user must select 'Bruce SPRINGSTEEN' from drop-down
- "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1985" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
- Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
- "charts.org.nz Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A." (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "norwegiancharts.com Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A." (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
- "swedishcharts.com Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A." (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A. – hitparade.ch" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- "Chart Stats: Bruce Springsteen – The River" (PHP). UK Albums Chart. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "allmusic ((( Born in the U.S.A. > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Album Search: Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A." (in German). Media Control. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
- "Top 100 Albums of 1984". RPM. January 5, 1985. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1984" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved April 2, 2014.
- "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Top Pop Albums of 1984". billboard.biz. December 31, 1981. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Austriancharts.at – Jahreshitparade 1985" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- "RPM's Top 100 Albums of 1985". RPM. December 28, 1985. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1985" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved April 2, 2014.
- "Les Albums (CD) de 1985 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Hitparade.ch – Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1985" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- 1980s Albums Chart Archive "Top Albums of 1984" Check
value (help). everyhit.com. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Billboard.BIZ – Year-end Charts – Billboard 200 – 1985". billboard.biz. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1986". RPM. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- "Billboard.BIZ – Year-end Charts – Billboard 200 – 1986". billboard.biz. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2011 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Canadian album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA". Music Canada. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Bruce Springsteen" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "French album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA" (in French). InfoDisc. Select BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and click OK
- "Les Albums Platine". infodisc.fr (in French). SNEP. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Bruce Springsteen; 'Born in the USA')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- Scapolo, Dean (2007). The Complete New Zealand Music Charts 1966–2006. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. ISBN 978-1-877443-00-8.
- "Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1979–1990". Iberautor Promociones Culturales. ISBN 8480486392.
- "British album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 6, 2012. Enter Born in the USA in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
- "American album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A.". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 4, 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
- Born in the U.S.A. (Adobe Flash) at Radio3Net (streamed copy where licensed)
- Born in the U.S.A. at Discogs (list of releases)